Kansas Wins Comeback Thriller Against Auburn, 11-10
Feb. 22, 2013
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas –Facing a 9-5 deficit and down to its final out, the Kansas softball team rallied for a nearly impossible comeback, pulling together six two-out runs to defeat the Auburn Tigers, 11-10, in game two of Islanders Classic, Friday afternoon at Chapman Field.
Auburn (10-3) jumped out to what looked to be an insurmountable lead, using four home runs to build a three-run frame in the first and a five-spot in the fifth. Kansas (9-3) entered the top of the seventh stacked against a 9-4 deficit – then came the rally.
“It’s tough to do, you don’t see a comeback like that very often,” said head coach Megan Smith, who battled through the day with a stomach virus. “Our girls were determined, they stayed focused and stayed within themselves. They were fighters, even when we were behind, we were still attacking so we knew good things were going to happen.”
Freshman catcher Alex Hugo and sophomore third baseman Chanin Naudin – who also fought off a stomach virus all day – led off the seventh with back-to-back singles, and an error on a ground ball from freshman shortstop Chaley Brickey loaded the bases with nobody out. Senior Rosie Hullaccounted for the first run, drilling an RBI single up the middle. A strikeout and a fielder’s choice, however, looked to halt the Jayhawks’ comeback attempt.
Down 9-5 with two outs, the Jayhawks stepped it up. Senior left fielder Maggie Hull ripped a single to center, driving in two runs and narrowing the Tiger lead, 9-7. Sophomore designated player Maddie Steinhad already tied her career high, collecting three hits prior to the Jayhawks’ last at bat. That didn’t stop her from recording her fourth, an RBI single that put Kansas down by a single run.
In need of a run, Kansas got the two it needed when senior first baseman Mariah Montgomery drilled an opposite field line drive to right, and Kansas took the final lead of the day, 10-9. Hugo added a crucial insurance run – her second hit of the inning. By the time the third out was recorded, Auburn had replaced its relief pitcher with its original starter and Kansas had taken an 11-9 lead.
As the teams had done all day, Auburn responded with three hits and a run in the bottom of the seventh. Solid defense, which included a diving effort from redshirt junior Alex Jones and a rundown on the base paths, backed up senior Morgan Druhan (1-0), who recorded her first win of the year in relief. Druhan surrendered two runs on six hits in her 2.1 innings, collecting three strikeouts in the process.
Stein led the remarkable offensive effort with a career-high four hits to accompany three RBIs. Montgomery also chipped in three RBIs, tying Maggie Hull for fourth on the Kansas career RBI list with 113 apiece. Fellow senior Rosie Hull chalked up three hits, while freshmen Brickey and Hugo posted two hits apiece.
The Tigers were led by right fielder Branndi Melero’s 3-for-3 day with two homers and three runs scored. Lexi Davis (3-2) took the loss. Davis was replaced before the top of the third by reliever Hilary Mavromat, who worked through four scoreless innings before the Jayhawks adjusted to her for their remarkable seventh-inning rally. Davis was called back in an attempt to save Auburn’s win, but Kansas was ready. The Jayhawks charged her with the final runs of the game to hand her the loss.
KU’s thrilling victory marked the Jayhawks’ first win against an SEC opponent since topping Arkansas, 4-2, on April 3, 2007. Additionally, Kansas racked up 17 hits, for its most since racking up 18 base knocks against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in the first game of the day. Before Friday’s hit parade, KU’s last 18-hit performance occurred against Alabama State on March 12, 2011.
Kansas will face Southern University on Saturday at 11 a.m., for the first meeting between the two teams.
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